How To Paint Shiplap

how to paint shiplap

When it comes to learning how to paint shiplap, there are various techniques and considerations that homeowners and apartment renters should be aware of. This blog post will provide you with an in-depth guide on the process of painting shiplap walls, ensuring a beautiful finish for your home improvement project.

We’ll begin by discussing popular shiplap paint colors and finishes, as well as the importance of testing samples at home. Next, we’ll cover the essential steps for preparing your wall before starting the painting process. This includes cleaning raw wood installations, filling nail holes and gaps, and priming or prepping boards accordingly.

Furthermore, this comprehensive guide on how to paint shiplap will explore different techniques suitable for both raw wood boards and installed or pre-primed ones. We’ll also discuss alternative methods of painting shiplap walls such as hand-painting individual boards prior to installation or using pre-painted plywood sheets. By following these expert tips and tricks provided in this blog post, you can achieve a stunning result that elevates the aesthetic appeal of your living space.

Choosing the Right Paint Color and Finish for Shiplap

Selecting the perfect paint color and finish is crucial when painting shiplap walls. Some popular choices include Alabaster, Sherwin Williams Pure White, Simply White by Benjamin Moore (used in many living room walls), Chantilly Lace, Gauntlet Gray or blue-gray shades like Blue Note by Benjamin Moore (great for faux barn doors). Testing these shades in various lighting is essential before settling on one.

Popular Shiplap Paint Colors

  • Alabaster: A warm white that works well with various interior styles.
  • Sherwin Williams Pure White: A versatile neutral white that complements any design scheme.
  • Simply White by Benjamin Moore: An elegant off-white hue often used on living room walls.
  • Gauntlet Gray: A sophisticated gray tone suitable for modern interiors.
  • Blue Note by Benjamin Moore: A deep blue-gray shade ideal for creating an accent wall or faux barn door effect.

The Importance of Testing Samples at Home

To ensure you choose the right shiplap paint color, it’s important to test samples at home under different lighting conditions. This will help you visualize how the color will look in your space and avoid any surprises after painting. You can purchase small sample pots of paint or order peel-and-stick swatches to make this process easier.

Choosing Between Matte Sheen and Satin Sheens

When it comes to choosing a paint finish for shiplap walls, there are two popular options: matte sheen and satin sheens. A matte finish offers a muted, velvet-like look that helps to hide any surface irregularities while providing an unobtrusive sophistication. On the other hand, satin finishes offer a slight sheen that adds depth and richness to the color without being too glossy. Both finishes work well on shiplap walls; however, consider factors such as room lighting, wall texture, and personal preference when making your decision.

In addition to selecting the right paint color and finish for your shiplap project, proper preparation is essential for achieving professional results. Continue reading our guide on Preparing Your Wall Before Painting Shiplap.

Choosing the right paint color and finish for shiplap is a critical step in creating a beautiful space. Now that you know how to choose your perfect shade, it’s time to move on to prepping your wall before painting shiplap.

Key Takeaway: 


When painting shiplap walls, it’s important to choose the right paint color and finish. Popular options include Alabaster, Sherwin Williams Pure White, Simply White by Benjamin Moore, Gauntlet Gray or Blue Note by Benjamin Moore. Testing samples at home under different lighting conditions is essential before making a final decision on color. Additionally, choosing between matte sheen and satin sheens depends on factors such as room lighting and personal preference.

Preparing Your Wall Before Painting Shiplap

Properly preparing your wall ensures long-lasting results when painting shiplap. Whether you’re working with raw wood installations or pre-installed boards, it’s essential to follow a few crucial steps before starting the painting process.

Cleaning and Dusting Raw Wood Installations

If you have raw wood shiplap boards, start by dusting all surfaces thoroughly using a soft brush or cloth. Vacuum the wall afterward to remove any remaining debris. This step is crucial for achieving a smooth finish on your shiplap walls.

Filling Nail Holes and Gaps

  • Nail holes: Fill nail holes with lightweight spackle or wood filler, ensuring that the surface is even after application.
  • Gaps between boards: Use paintable caulk to fill gaps between shiplap boards for a seamless appearance once painted. Be sure to smooth out excess caulk with a damp cloth before it dries.
  • Tape edges: Apply painter’s tape along edges where necessary to protect adjacent surfaces from paint splatters during the painting project.

Priming Raw Wood vs. Prepping Pre-installed Boards

The preparation method differs slightly depending on whether you’re working with raw wood installations or pre-installed shiplap boards:

  1. Raw wood installations: Apply an oil-based primer to raw wood surfaces before painting. This will ensure better adhesion of the water-based paint and prevent any potential staining from the natural tannins in the wood.
  2. Pre-installed boards: For pre-primed installed boards, sand down any leftover roller or brush lines and smooth out raised wood grain using fine-grit sandpaper. Fill obvious cracks or gaps with caulk as mentioned earlier.

In both cases, allow enough time for the primer or caulk to dry completely before proceeding with your shiplap painting project.

Taking these steps ensures that your shiplap walls are well-prepared for a beautiful finish that lasts. With proper preparation, you’ll be ready to start painting your shiplap wall finally.

Before painting shiplap, it is important to properly prepare the wall for a successful and professional-looking finish. Moving on, we will discuss techniques for painting raw wood shiplap boards that can help achieve an even coverage with minimal effort.

Key Takeaway: 


Before painting shiplap, it’s important to properly prepare the wall by cleaning and dusting raw wood installations, filling nail holes and gaps with spackle or caulk, and applying an oil-based primer for better adhesion. For pre-installed boards, sand down any leftover roller or brush lines and fill obvious cracks before proceeding with painting.

Techniques for Painting Raw Wood Shiplap Boards

When working with bare or raw wood on your shiplap painting project, it’s essential to follow the right techniques for a beautiful finish. This includes priming the boards first and applying two coats of your chosen paint color, ensuring that grooves and nail holes are adequately covered. You can use angled brushes, rollers, or sprayers depending on your preference and experience.

Using Angled Brushes or Rollers on Raw/Bare Woods

To paint shiplap walls using an angled brush or roller, start by dipping the brush into the paint until about one-third of its bristles are coated in paint. Tap off any excess paint before you begin painting. Next, carefully apply the paint along each board’s edge while maintaining a steady hand to avoid drips and uneven coverage. For larger surfaces like panels between grooves, switch to a small roller for faster application without sacrificing quality.

  • Pros: More control over coverage; less likely to create drips; suitable for beginners
  • Cons: Can be time-consuming; may require multiple coats for even coverage

Spraying Techniques for Even Coverage

If you prefer using a paint sprayer, ensure that you have enough experience handling spraying equipment as this method requires more skill than brushing or rolling. Start by adjusting the spray nozzle according to manufacturer instructions based on desired output volume and spray pattern. Hold the sprayer at a consistent distance from the shiplap boards, moving in smooth horizontal strokes while overlapping each pass by about 50% for even coverage.

  • Pros: Faster application; more uniform coverage; ideal for large projects
  • Cons: Requires experience with spraying equipment; potential overspray and mess if not done correctly

Hiring Professionals If Inexperienced With Spraying Equipment

If you’re unsure about using a paint sprayer or lack experience handling one, consider hiring professionals to complete your shiplap painting project. Professional painters have the necessary skills and expertise to ensure an even coat of paint on your walls without any drips or mistakes. To find reliable local painters, ask friends or family members for recommendations, read online reviews, or consult directories like HomeAdvisor.

In summary, when painting raw wood shiplap boards, choose between angled brushes/rollers/sprayers based on your skill level and project size. Regardless of which method you select, always prime first then apply two coats of chosen color while ensuring grooves/nail holes are covered for best results.

For raw wood shiplap boards, the most important factor to consider is which painting technique works best for your project. For pre-installed or pre-primed shiplap boards, it’s essential to understand how angled brushes and rollers can be used in combination with spraying techniques for even coverage.

Key Takeaway: 


To paint shiplap walls, it’s important to prime the boards first and apply two coats of your chosen paint color while ensuring grooves and nail holes are covered. You can use angled brushes, rollers or sprayers depending on your preference and experience; however, if you lack experience with spraying equipment, consider hiring professionals for an even coat of paint without any mistakes.

Painting Installed or Pre-Primed Shiplap Boards

If you’re working with installed or pre-primed shiplap boards, there are a few essential steps to follow for a successful painting project. This section will discuss using an angled brush for edges and gaps, as well as rollers for the main panels. Additionally, we’ll cover the importance of working in horizontal sections and allowing adequate drying time between coats.

Angled Brushes vs Rollers on Pre-installed Shiplap

To achieve a smooth finish on your painted shiplap walls, it’s crucial to use the right tools. For edges and gaps between boards, angled brushes work best because they allow precise control when applying paint. On the other hand, rollers are ideal for covering larger areas like main panels quickly and evenly. When selecting your roller size, opt for one that is slightly smaller than the width of your shiplap board to avoid excess paint buildup in grooves.

Working in Horizontal Sections

To ensure even coverage while painting shiplap walls, start at the top of your wall and work downwards in full horizontal sections from left to right (or vice versa). By doing so, you can maintain consistent pressure throughout each stroke which helps prevent streaks or uneven application of paint color.

  1. Clean: Before you begin painting any surface area, make sure it’s free from dust and debris by wiping down with a damp cloth then let dry completely before proceeding further into the process;
  2. Tape off: Use painter’s tape to protect adjacent surfaces from accidental paint splatters;
  3. Paint edges and gaps: With an angled brush, apply paint carefully along the edges of each shiplap board as well as in-between boards where necessary;
  4. Roll main panels: Load your roller with paint then roll onto main panel areas using long even strokes.

Allowing Adequate Drying Time Between Coats

Allow the initial layer of paint to dry completely before adding more coats, as per manufacturer’s instructions for optimal results. Typically, water-based paints require at least one day to cure properly. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on your chosen paint brand, and follow their recommended drying times for best results.

In summary, painting installed or pre-primed shiplap boards can be a straightforward process if you use appropriate tools like angled brushes and rollers while working methodically in horizontal sections. Remember always to give ample drying time between coats for a professional-looking result that lasts.

Painting installed or pre-primed shiplap boards requires attention to detail and patience, but with the right tools and techniques it can be a rewarding experience. Different methods of painting shiplap walls offer different advantages depending on the desired outcome; these should be considered before beginning any project.

Key Takeaway: 


To paint shiplap, use an angled brush for edges and gaps, rollers for main panels, and work in horizontal sections. Allow adequate drying time between coats to achieve a professional-looking result that lasts. Don’t forget to clean the surface area before painting and tape off adjacent surfaces to protect them from accidental paint splatters.

Different Methods of Painting Shiplap Walls

There are four primary options when it comes to painting shiplap walls, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. To assist you in selecting the most suitable technique for your shiplap painting task, we will examine each of these methods more closely.

Hand-painting Individual Boards Prior to Installation

This method involves applying paint on each shiplap board before they are installed onto the wall. This allows for a more controlled application of paint and ensures that all edges and grooves are covered properly. Waiting for the paint to dry prior to putting up the boards can be a tedious task.

Small Brushes/Rollers Technique Post-Installation

If you prefer painting after installation, using small brushes or rollers is an effective way to ensure even coverage between boards. Start by covering any gaps or nail holes with a paintable caulk, then use a small brush or roller to apply paint into the grooves and along edges where larger tools might not reach. This method may take longer than others but provides precise results.

Pre-Painted Plywood Sheet Method

  • Step 1: Paint cracks/edges on plywood sheets prior to cutting them into individual shiplap boards.
  • Step 2: Install painted plywood sheets onto existing wall surfaces post-installation.
  • Note: This technique works well if you want uniform color across your entire wall without worrying about touching up individual boards after installation. However, it may not be suitable for those looking to achieve a more rustic or textured finish.

Utilizing Wagner Paint Sprayers

Wagner paint sprayers are often considered the easiest and fastest method for painting shiplap walls. These devices provide even coverage in less time compared to traditional brushes or rollers. While this option can save you time and effort, it may require hiring professionals if you’re inexperienced with spraying equipment.

In summary, choosing the right painting method for your shiplap wall depends on factors such as desired finish, available tools, and experience level. Consider each of these methods carefully before starting your project to ensure a beautiful result that lasts.

Key Takeaway: 


There are four primary options for painting shiplap walls, including hand-painting individual boards prior to installation, using small brushes or rollers post-installation, pre-painted plywood sheet method and utilizing Wagner paint sprayers. Each method has its own advantages and drawbacks depending on the desired finish, available tools and experience level.

FAQs in Relation to How to Paint Shiplap

What is the Correct Way to Paint Shiplap?

The correct way to paint shiplap involves choosing the right color and finish, preparing the wall, and using appropriate painting techniques. For raw wood installations, clean and prime before painting with angled brushes or rollers. For pre-installed or pre-primed boards, use angled brushes or rollers in horizontal sections. Allow adequate drying time between coats.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use to Paint Shiplap?

For painting shiplap walls, it’s best to use a high-quality acrylic latex paint that provides excellent coverage and durability. Choose between matte sheen for a more rustic look or satin sheens for a smoother appearance. Always test samples at home before committing to a specific color.

Do You Paint the Grooves in Shiplap?

Yes, it’s essential to paint the grooves in shiplap as they are part of its signature design feature. Use an angled brush when working on raw wood installations or small brushes/rollers technique post-installation for even coverage throughout all areas of your wall.

What Sheen of Paint Does Joanna Gaines Use on Shiplap?

Joanna Gaines typically uses matte sheen, which offers minimal shine while providing depth and texture on her painted surfaces like walls with installed shiplaps; this helps create that cozy farmhouse aesthetic often seen in her designs.


In conclusion, painting shiplap can be a fun and rewarding project for homeowners and apartment renters alike. From choosing the right paint color and finish to preparing the wall before painting, there are many techniques that can help achieve a beautiful finish on shiplap walls. Whether you’re working with raw wood or pre-installed boards, using angled brushes or rollers, or even hiring professionals for spraying equipment, these tips will help make your shiplap painting process a success.

If you’re ready to start your own shiplap painting project, visit for all of your DIY tips and advice. 

Jane Whitford
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